The book series takes place in a future where scientists have perfected humans, but the generation after gets the bad side effects. They die by the age of 20 for women and 25 for men.
In the first book we meet Rhine Ellery, she is our protagonist. in the beginning she is abducted by gathers and is sold to Vaughn, a house master looking for brides for his son. She and two other girls are taken to the Ashby residence where they are to wed the house master's son, Linden.
shortly after arriving Rhine meets Rose, Linden's first wife who is dying. After Rhine marries Linden they become closer, even sharing secrets. Rose then dies, leaving Linden heart- broken and Rhine sad.
Rhine and Linden begin to a form somewhat of a friendship when he starts inviting her to do things and comes to sleep next to her. But Rhine is attracted to Gabriel, an attendant. She and Gabriel hide this from everyone but are eventually found out by Cecily, Rhine's sister wife. Cecily goes to house master Vaughn instead of to Linden and Vaughn places Gabriel in the basement.
At some point, Jenna, Rhine's other sister wife convinces Lindent to make Rhine the first wife. Rhine is very happy but finds out disturbing news about Vaughn.
Jenna tries to help her discover where Gabriel is and in return house master Vaughn kills her a few weeks after Cecily has her son, Bowen.
Rhine and Cecily weep for their lost sister before Rhine realizes Cecily helped Vaughn dispose of Jenna by giving him information. Rhine plans to run away with Gabriel and they manage to with the help of Cecily, who realized her past mistakes.
In the following book, fever, Rhine and Gabriel escaped from the house master, Vaughn and are currently on the run. They unknowingly reach the Scarlet district and spend most of the book trapped there.
Rhine is considered very beautiful. She has long blonde hair, high cheekbones, and heterochromia which makes one of her eyes blue and the other brown. Throughout the first book Rhine is compared numerious times to Rose and is also mistaken for her. Linden himself is drawn to her because she reminded him of his dead wife, Rose.